NAC Boosts Exercise Ability and Antioxidant Function
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
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Two human studies and a number of animal studies continue to show the power of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to bolster the antioxidant system. Exercise ability is always a test of your antioxidant systems. If you want to get a healthy response to exercise, it requires that you have the antioxidant capacity to perform exercise. When you use your muscles at a higher rate of output, your cellular engines, in addition to making more energy, make more free radicals. If you have enough antioxidants on board, you are more likely to get a good response to exercise. If your antioxidant savings account is low, then you will get increased fatigue and other undesirable symptoms during and/or following exercise. Two new human studies, one in trained men and one in sedentary men, show that NAC directly boosts exercise performance by reducing the free radicals produced during exercise.
Antioxidants work together as a synergistic team wherein each member tends to rejuvenate another team member to help keep their antioxidant function working better for longer. NAC is a fuel for making the most important cellular antioxidant known as glutathione. Many antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C, and lipoic acid help to sustain levels of cellular glutathione, which is one way these antioxidants help. When we spend time exercising we want to get a healthy response to exercise, which means help from a variety of antioxidants – and NAC is a key basic antioxidant to have on your team.
The glutathione that is produced by NAC is vital to many functions in your body, including proper activation of thyroid hormone. Some recent interesting animal studies demonstrate the diverse role NAC plays in your vital antioxidant systems.
For example, the high blood sugar of diabetes is known to generate free radical distress and take its toll on the heart. NAC has been shown to boost adiponectin Protein hormone that modulates metabolism including glucose and fatty acid catabolism. High levels are associated with low body fat. , which not only helps lower blood sugar by improving insulin function but also helps make friendly nitric oxide (eNOS Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase. Type of enzyme involved with various physiological signals and maintenance activities with nitric oxide. ) that relaxes the vascular system. The researchers showed that rats supplemented with NAC had much less damage when forced to have a heart attack, based on these mechanisms of protection and reduced free radical damage.
Another experiment showed that NAC actually helps to stabilize existing arterial plaque, a finding that has been previously demonstrated for the fish oil DHA Docosahexaenoic acid Essential omega 3 fatty acid integral to the health of all cell membranes, nerve and brain function. Must be gotten through the diet via cold water oceanic fish or some very limited plant sources or taken as a supplement.. This is important because unstable plaque is more likely to break free and cause a heart attack or stroke. Animals treated with NAC had much fewer inflammatory macrophages in their plaque and therefore less inflammatory signaling and “stickiness” that would cause plaque accumulation. Even though plaque still existed it had more collagen in it, meaning it was in a more stable situation.
Under the toxic overload of infection (sepsis) massive amounts of free radical damage occur, potentially resulting in a shutdown of the immune system and death. The ability to improve antioxidant status in response to sepsis gives more time for the immune system to overcome the challenge. Researchers showed that NAC could boost the cellular glutathione levels during sepsis.
Osteoblasts are important bone “carpenters” that rejuvenate bone. Their activity is reduced by free radical damage within bone from any form of stress impacting on bone. Researchers showed that NAC could help prevent such free radical damage and help osteoblasts function normally to mineralize healthy new bone.
It is clear from all these studies that your antioxidant saving account is a foundation of health that applies to many different aspects of your well being. Do not let your antioxidants run low, especially if you are under stress and feeling wear and tear. NAC is an important member of your antioxidant team, with a special ability to help fuel the production of cellular glutathione, the very backbone of your antioxidant system.
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